“Going into this birth, I felt very at peace knowing whenever baby Luca decided to come, it would be exactly when he was meant to. Knowing this, I felt no rush. I had no anxiety over it…until friends who were due around me started having their babies and I started to get antsy to meet him. However, I still knew and felt totally at peace that he would come whenever he was ready. No sooner, no later.
I admit I was nervous about Luca coming on my 4-year-old son Leo’s birthday (December 6th). And once the day passed, I felt so much more ready for Luca to come. I was excited and anxious to go into spontaneous labor since I was induced with Leo and had an incredibly traumatic experience. I had done the work I needed to do in order to move past my trauma from Leo’s birth and have an overall better and healing experience.
At 37+5, the day after Thanksgiving, I decided to purchase Karen Welton’s Pain-Free Birth class. It was one of the best decisions I made in my pregnancy. While watching and listening, I would frequently sit on my birth ball in an attempt to get him in a good position. One night while sitting on the birth ball, I felt a tiny shift. When I got up to use the bathroom, I knew he dropped further into my pelvis because all of a sudden there was even more pressure.
At my 38-week appointment, my midwife confirmed he was very engaged and in a great position. I was so excited! Making sure Luca was in a good position was super important to me because Leo came out posterior and at an angle (asynclitic) and we didn’t know until 5 hours into pushing that he was in a very unideal position, which contributed to my birth trauma.
In an attempt to keep Luca in a good position, I continued to use the birth ball whenever I could, had one more pelvic floor therapy appointment, and went to the chiropractor 2 more times. I was having the lower belly cramping on and off at this point and knew my body was getting ready to welcome Luca soon.
Leo’s birthday came and went (I was 39+1) and I officially felt prepared and ready for Luca to come. Two days later, on Wednesday night, I was sitting at my counter and felt a contraction that felt different than previous ones. It felt harder and tighter and I knew the baby was going to be coming within the next few days.
The next morning I had an acupuncture appointment to try to help encourage my body for labor (a few weeks previous I had a feeling if I was to get acupuncture done it would help put me into labor, so I held off scheduling until after Leo’s birthday). When I woke up that morning, I was still having contractions similar to the night previous, and on the way to the acupuncture appointment, I even had to focus a little more on my breathing.
It wasn’t really painful yet but felt more like intense period cramps. I loved practicing my breathing techniques I had learned for pain management on these contractions so I could get the hang of it! During my acupuncture appointment, I started getting uncomfortable near the end because I had some bigger contractions during it. Right at the end, I felt a tiny gush and it alarmed me, so I went to the bathroom and found a little blood.
Instantly I knew my cervix was working to open and I would be expecting more ‘bloody show’ soon. I texted my midwife and doula to let them know, and my midwife confirmed what I suspected. When I got back to my car, I texted my husband David a heads up and started getting really excited. I continued having those contractions all day Thursday, but there was no consistency and they still weren’t painful yet. Still just felt like intense period cramps that were manageable.
Once bedtime hit, I all of a sudden got incredibly anxious and scared of going into real labor in the middle of the night. I hadn’t experienced spontaneous labor and all of sudden I felt panicked that I had no idea what to expect. Something about the quiet of nighttime while everyone was sleeping and going into labor really scared me (I had not felt this way previously), so I barely slept at all. I tried listening to my Christian Hypnobirthing tracks all night, but nothing could shake my fear or put me to sleep.
Once morning came, I was able to sleep a little but then 2 stronger contractions woke me up. Throughout the night I continued to lose my mucus plug and there was more bloody show. I warned David, ‘Today might be the day.’ He got everything ready to go because he really thought it would be within hours. Mid-morning Friday I was able to take a good nap and I woke up feeling great. I was getting used to my contractions and felt super on top of them whenever they came.
We started timing them and even though there was some consistency, there still wasn’t enough for it to be considered active labor. We stayed in communication with my doula the whole day, and she predicted the baby would come by night. For now, I just needed to rest as much as I could to save energy for active labor. Contractions started picking up more at night before bed, and David was pretty convinced I was in active labor. At this point, he was the one texting my doula while I focused on contractions and resting.
After my doula suggested taking an Epsom salt bath to test and see if my contractions stopped or continued, I found not only did the bath keep up the contractions, but it brought them stronger and closer together. At this point, Leo started to get involved and loved to hold my hand and hug me through contractions. He knew when I was in one because I would stop what I was doing, go internal, and focus on my breathing. David started getting a little concerned we wouldn’t make it to the birth center on time, so my doula offered to come over along with my midwife’s assistant Senny to check on me and see how far along I was.
At around 8:30 p.m., they checked me and I was almost at 5 cm and 75% effaced. They confirmed I was in active labor and suggested I eat a good, nutritious meal and get as much sleep as possible. I started feeling a little emotional for no particular reason. Just overwhelmed, I think. After they left, we ordered in some food and I tried to eat and drink water as much as possible because I knew I wouldn’t want to be eating much here soon.
At around 11 p.m. my contractions really started picking up as I was laying in bed. David was downstairs watching a show and I texted him letting him know I needed counterpressure. I lay on my sides on my bed as I went through these contractions and David would use sacral pressure. This went on for hours! David was such a champ, holy cow. At around 2 a.m. David fell asleep in between contractions, so I just let him sleep since I knew we wouldn’t be getting much here soon.
I focused heavily on my breathing and got up to try to use the bathroom multiple times. I started feeling really intense pressure, and kept feeling like I needed to use the bathroom, but was in denial it could mean I needed to push soon because I didn’t think I would progress this fast. At one distinct point, I remember all of a sudden feeling not just intense pressure but intense pain in my pelvis. It almost felt like intestinal discomfort, but it was extreme. Something didn’t feel right (we would later find out I was right).
At around 4 a.m. I woke David up, he did more counterpressure, and I felt like I needed the bathroom again. I came back out and just broke down into tears, sobbing to him about how tired I was and how something didn’t feel right. He immediately called my doula and told her we needed to head to the birth center ASAP. She let my midwife and the rest of the birth team know to head over and that I was feeling ‘pushy.’ David woke Leo up and told him it was time, and he was SO excited.
I was still crying and was letting Leo know as we walked down the stairs that it was okay that mama was crying. It meant the baby was coming soon. Soon after, a contraction hit hard and Leo paused and said to me, ‘Take deep breaths mama, and remember this pain is a good pain!’ It was just what I needed to hear from my sweet son. We got in the car and I started to feel the fear take over because I knew something wasn’t right and I was scared. I tried my best to just breathe through it and allowed myself to cry. I knew I needed the emotional release.
David called his sister who was going to be there with Leo and our birth videographer. As we were pulling out of our neighborhood, David saw a shooting star and he knew right then it was a sign from our baby that we were going to be meeting him soon, and he was for sure going to be named Luca (his name means bringer of light). CHILLS.
We got to the birth center, which was 25 minutes away, real quick and as soon as we got there I walked inside to another intense contraction. Every contraction put more pain on the pain I was already feeling in my pelvis. The birth team was getting everything ready and my doula took over with the counter pressure. I got into the birth tub hoping it would give me a little relief, but I didn’t like how hard the tub felt during contractions.
Leo came in at one point to help me through some contractions. He told my doula he was going to give me some of his lion strength. His full name is Leonidas, which means lion strength. My sweet doula stayed by my side and had me drink water with liquid IV electrolytes in between contractions, and she and David would switch doing counter pressure. (I never knew who was doing what, I was in total labor land and don’t remember much of what was going on around me.)
During one contraction, I felt an intense need to push and my body started trying to push without me even trying, so I pushed with it. My water then broke. At this point, we had been at the birth center for about 2.5 hours. I was tired, I was emotional, and I didn’t think I could make it through because of the pain in my pelvis. I suddenly felt like I needed to labor outside of the tub, so they helped me out and had me try different pushing positions. It all felt so off.
It was extremely painful and I knew it wasn’t supposed to feel this way. At this point, I was begging in my mind for it to be over soon. I tried pushing on hands and knees, reclining back on my doula while sitting on the bed, a birth stool, etc. and when I was pushing outside of the tub, they found the baby’s heart rate was dipping dramatically. It got as low as in the 70s. When I pushed, it would go back up. But when I wasn’t pushing, it would drop low.
They had never seen a heart rate react this way while pushing. Usually, it’s the opposite! They gave me oxygen to try to help him out. While on the birth stool, my midwife asked to check and see what was going on. And after I consented, she found whenever I pushed, the baby was pulling my cervix along with him, even though I was fully dilated and effaced. My cervix was acting like a rubber band around his head. His head was also asynclictic, just like Leo’s was.
For a good chunk of pushing time, she had to push my cervix back over his head as I pushed. It was so intense and brutal, but without her help to manually keep my cervix back, it would’ve been worse. I’m sure at a hospital they would’ve tried to use a vacuum suction/forceps or try to do a C-section, and I would’ve had a similar birth to Leo’s. But my birth team knew I could get him out, even when I questioned myself. Their belief in me and my trust in their expertise is where I got my strength.
At this point, I was begging to be done, crying to David as he held me, and dripping sweat since I was pushing so dang hard because I knew he needed to get out ASAP. I could hear the concern in my birth team’s voices and my midwife gently, yet firmly told me, ‘We need to get the baby out.’ They quickly got me onto the bed to try pushing on my back. (I have to note they asked for consent with EVERYTHING. Not once did they force me to do anything.)
Everything was done with so much care and love, which was a night and day difference compared to Leo’s birth. His heart rate improved dramatically, which meant he must’ve gotten into a better position than before as he got further down. We used a rebozo to have me pull on as I pushed while my doula resisted on the other side, and it helped SO much. Once my midwife was able to keep my cervix behind his head, he descended through the birth canal real quick.
Everyone was cheering. I reached down and could feel his fuzzy head!! The burning sensation (ring of fire) on top of everything else made everything more intense, but I knew since I was feeling the burning, it meant he was crowning, which meant it was almost over. My midwife told David to come over right then if he wanted to catch the baby (he had been at my side the whole time helping me), and after a few more pushes he finally came out at 8:15 a.m.
As he came out, he did a full 360! They had never seen a baby do this before. Usually, they only turn halfway. From the time I got out of the tub to when he was born, it was a little over an hour. Finally. He was here. It was over. I did it. They placed him immediately on my chest and his vitals were great. He was in shock, and it took him a bit to come out of it. But he was doing great, which was such a relief. David kept saying, ‘You did it, babe. You did it!’ as we both cried.
Holy cow it was such a relief to have Luca in my arms! There was a spot on the left side of his head that was bruised and coned—we think it was the area that got stuck in my pelvis causing the intense pain and I ended up pushing out first. My placenta followed pretty quickly after, coming only about maybe 10 minutes after Luca. I was laying there with Luca on me just in shock and in awe that I did all of that. Especially laboring and pushing with him in a hard position and getting stuck—completely unmedicated.
Even in harder than average labor, it was possible and I freaking did it! The pain down around my perineum was pretty intense, so I was SURE I tore, but I didn’t. I was SHOCKED hearing that after all the intense pushing, and knowing I had a 3rd-degree tear with Leo. Luca’s head also came out asynclitic, not posterior though thank goodness, which meant there was more diameter of his head to push out than what’s normal. It’s a straight miracle I didn’t tear nor need stitches or glue.
Right as he came out, there was also meconium. Had it come out sooner, I would’ve had to transfer to a hospital. I’m so grateful it didn’t come to it. We had Leo come in shortly after, and he was in awe and amazement over his baby brother! I will forever cherish the photos we got of those two together right after he was born. We got to relax and lay down together on the bed as a family for a few hours, just soaking up the golden hour and time as a family of 4.
Leo wanted to do skin-to-skin too, and we let him help David cut the cord. Having him be so involved made the experience much more magical. I HIGHLY suggest it! After they did the newborn exam and made sure both Luca and I were doing great, we headed home at around 12:45 p.m. It was unreal to think just hours before I birthed Luca after some unforeseen road bumps. This cute 7lb, 4oz, and 19.75 in-long baby was finally with us, and it was surreal!
I truly believe my birth went as great as it could despite the circumstances because of the incredible birth team I chose. I’m so happy I took the time to do the research to find what worked best for me and my family, and I took time to learn there are so many options when it comes to birth. I’m forever grateful I chose a birth center. I’m so fortunate to have had Melissa Chappell as my midwife. She is such a knowledgeable, loving midwife who cares and loves deeply.
And hiring my incredible doula Allison Carlson was a game-changer. I firmly believe every pregnant mama should hire one! I felt seen, loved, and deeply cared for. I went into my birth prepared and ready to face whatever came our way. Utah Birth Suites will forever have such a special place in our hearts. Although there are elements from both Leo and Luca’s birth that were traumatic, Luca’s birth was healing to my soul. I learned so much about the power of women in the process of preparing for birth, and how beautiful and powerful birth truly is. And for that, I’m forever grateful.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Delaina Leigh Compton. You can follow her journey on Instagram and TikTok. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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